March 8, 2006


Former Black Panther Aaron Dixon to run for Senate (NEIL MODIE, 3/08/06, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER)

Aaron Dixon, a black community activist and icon of Seattle's political left for nearly 40 years, is running for the U.S. Senate, posing what could be a potent threat to Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell's chances for re-election.

Dixon, 57, a co-founder of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968, is announcing at a news conference Thursday his candidacy for the Green Party nomination. In a close general election, he conceivably could peel enough liberal votes from Cantwell to help hand the election to Republican businessman Mike McGavick.

In other words, Dixon could do for McGavick what another third-party candidate, Libertarian Jeff Jared, arguably did for Cantwell when she unseated Republican Sen. Slade Gorton in 2000. Cantwell won by 2,229 votes, and many Republicans think the 64,734 votes for Jared cost Gorton the election.

"This has got to be great news for McGavick and bad news for Cantwell," University of Washington political scientist David Olson said of Dixon's candidacy. That's particularly so, he said, because Dixon could pull votes from two reliably Democratic constituencies, environmentalists and African Americans.

Some liberals are angry at Cantwell for having voted for the 2002 Iraq war resolution, the USA Patriot Act and the 2005 Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Isolationism and protectionism are two of the magic three. Given the environmentalist hostility to immigration he could ring up a three-fer.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 8, 2006 1:11 PM

I still think she should lose just because she was an executive with Real Networks. That's enough to rile up computer owners on all sides of the political spectrum.

Posted by: John at March 8, 2006 1:17 PM

So begins the fracturing of the Democratic Party.

Posted by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 8, 2006 1:22 PM

See comment on next post.

Posted by: erp at March 8, 2006 5:25 PM

What's with this guy? He doesn't have a Moslem name. Is he American, or something?

Posted by: erp at March 8, 2006 6:32 PM

Out here, blacks already vote Republican at 2-3 times the national rate, so on one hand, there are fewer black votes to pull away from Cantwell. On the other hand, this will be the second cycle in a row where a liberal black man runs against a less-liberal rich white woman, and you've got to figure there's some emnity growing there. Depending on how intelligently Dixon campaigns, we could see the smallest percentage of black Democrat votes in a major election since the Dixiecrats.

He's unlikely to pull the anti-immigration card, though, as immigrants outnumber blacks by a fair amount out here.

Posted by: Timothy at March 8, 2006 7:52 PM

And let's not forget that Ron Sims lost to Gorton in '94. But really, if you are an incumbent and your margin of victory is so narrow that a Libertarian is seen as tilting the race to your opponent, maybe you deserved to lose. Especially when your opponent is RealMaria.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 8, 2006 9:16 PM
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